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Dementia symptoms you shouldn't ignore

The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people with dementia, around the world, will reach 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. With this amount of people affected, it’s easy to understand why the profile of dementia has never been higher.

Although there’s currently no cure for dementia, we do know that early diagnosis is beneficial for many reasons. An early diagnosis allows you to plan ahead while you’re still able to make decisions about your future. It gives you the opportunity to receive information, advice and support at the time when you need it most. And an early diagnosis may mean that treatments have a better chance of helping improve the way you process thoughts and your quality of life. 

With this in mind, it’s important to be able to recognise the symptoms of dementia in yourself or a loved one. Here’s a rundown of some of the symptoms you should look out for.

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Early signs of dementia
Professor Graham Stokes

Details

  • Symptoms Symptoms of dementia

    The early stages of dementia are often mild and may get worse very gradually. This stage is often overlooked and put down to ‘getting older’. Symptoms may include:

    • being forgetful
    • frequently losing track of the time
    • becoming lost in familiar places
    • misunderstanding spoken and written words
    As dementia progresses, the symptoms become more obvious and can cause more problems. They may include:

    • forgetting common facts and people's names
    • having difficulty communicating with others
    • repeating questions
    • wandering, restlessness and agitation
    During the later stages of dementia, you will gradually become dependent on others for your care. Symptoms that are likely to occur in the later stages of dementia include:

      Top tips for dementia caregivers by Bupa UK
    • being unaware of the time and the place
    • difficulty recognising friends and family
    • needing help to shower and use the toilet
    • finding it difficult to walk or not being able to walk at all
    • loss of bladder control
    • increased aggression and unusual behaviour, such as rocking backwards and forwards or using repetitive movements

    Click on the image to open our infographic of top tips for dementia caregivers.

     

     

     

  • When should I see my doctor? When should I see my doctor?

    The symptoms above will not necessarily affect everyone with dementia and nor are they specific to dementia or a particular type of dementia. If you think you or a loved one has one or more of these symptoms, don't delay. Go and see your doctor for a chat. He or she can offer you peace of mind and rule out any other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. They can also set the ball rolling so that you receive that all important care which could make the difference to your quality of life.

  • Resources Resources

    Further information

    Sources

    • Dementia. A public health priority. World Health Organization. www.who.int, published 2012
    • Dementia. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries. cks.nice.org.uk, published March 2010
    • Dementia. World Health Organization. www.who.int, published April 2012
    • About dementia. Alzheimer’s Society. www.alzheimers.org.uk, reviewed March 2012
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    Produced by Dylan Merkett, Bupa Health Information Team, January 2014.

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